Cypriot gov't says mulling on amending constitution to prevent drain of state funds

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NICOSIA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The Cypriot government is mulling over amending the state's constitution in a bid to prevent thousands of public servants reclaiming cuts imposed on their salaries during the 2013 financial crisis amounting to billions of euros, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.

The government is worried that such a mass move by civil servants to recover lost income could destabilize the economy, which has just recovered from a near bankruptcy averted only by a 10 billion euro bailout in March, 2013.

Anastasiades told the state-run Cyprus News Agency and state television in a joint interview that amending the Constitution is one of several measures under consideration by the Legal Service.

"Other measures are corrective but for the time being I do not want to discuss them because my aim is to convene a meeting with party leaders to jointly study the issue," Anastasiades said.

Amending the Constitution is an extraordinary measure demanding a 75 percent majority.

All political parties concurred in passing a bill in December, 2012, even prior to the bailout, providing for permanent salary cuts of 12.5 percent to reduce the public payroll.

The administrative court upheld an application by some civil servants reclaiming their lost income. The court said that the salary was part of their property which cannot be encroached upon under a constitutional provision.

Anastasiades said that the 2012 decision was made unanimously, albeit under a different government, to save the country from financial ruin, and he hoped that opposition parties will again concur to a Constitutional amendment to prevent rocking the economy again.

Estimates by economists put the cost of restoring the lost income of public servants to between 2 billion and 4 billion euros - a huge burden on the Cypriot on the 20 billion euro yearly economy. (1 euro = 1.12 U.S. dollars)Enditem

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